Thursday, March 21, 2019

50 people try to poach an egg

Fifty people act silly. Skip to 3:50 to a cook showing exactly how this is done.

I am not a chef but I do like catering groups of people.

It's very easy to blow the minds of your peers by serving eggs Benedict for twenty people (40 poached eggs) with the ease of serving one. The nerve, the nonchalance, the breezy éclat is just not seen in regular cooks. That's not what I think, rather, that's what they say when you do it.

You poach the eggs four or five at a time and transfer them to a large bowl of cold water. For serving, lift them out one or two at a time and dip them back into simmering water for just a few seconds still holding them with a slotted spoon.

Eggs cook within a range of temperatures because the yolk and the whites denature at different temperatures. The white albumen is actually two different substances and those also cook at different temperatures. The range is 140℉ - 165℉ or 170℉ thereabout. Well below the temperature of boiling water. And it doesn't go, 170℉ boink cooked, rather, the eggs begin to cook at 140℉ and time is another factor. The egg will not be cooked if you dip it in 170℉ water. It will need time. So you have to stand there and watch them, sometimes up to a few minutes.

When you dump your room temperature egg into the water, if the white doesn't tighten up within the first few seconds then add more vinegar. Don't worry about the egg tasting vinegary.

While dipping it into cold water will arrest the cooking immediately. And dipping them back into near boiling water will re-heat them nearly immediately.

In the meantime you prepare your Hollandaise sauce, and again technique makes a large batch simple as making a small batch.

Start with egg yolks at room temperature. Whisking them in a bowl over simmering water, they will begin to thicken when their temperature reaches 140℉, very far below the temperature of simmering water. This happens fairly quickly. Then drizzle butter preheated to that same temperature and it thickens even faster. In less than a minute your egg yolks have become extremely rich cooked mayonnaise. Then lemon juice and cayenne s/p, and in a flash you've made a large batch of Hollandaise as if you knew what you were doing and your friends who are observing you are all, "F'k'n what?"

Your own homemade English muffins are better than the ones that you buy. It's simple yeast bread dough balls, smashed to a thick pancake then fried instead of baked.

Lavish your friends with thick slices of top deli ham. Tell the guy to slice it thick as a quarter coin. They're uncertain about what you mean so they'll go, "this thick?"

You go, "Thicker."

     "This thick?"


     "This thick?"


     "This thick?"


     "This thick?

"That too thick! What are you crazy?"

Use a fork to separate halves of your English muffins and toast them all at once or in batches under your oven's broiler. Have them ready. Have the sliced ham at room temperature. Poach your eggs and have them chilling in ice water with a fresh pot of simmering water.

Once plated scrape nutmeg over the sauce, or sprinkle cayenne or maybe chipotle powder (smoked roasted jalapeño.)

And the whole time you're assembling you'll be thinking, "Damn, these eggs Benedict are basically egg sauce served over eggs. Whoever thought of this must have been quite mad."

Enlist one your guests to help you assemble plates. Prepare the Hollandaise. Begin assembling plates, dipping poached eggs into hot water, placing over toast with a slice of ham, and spreading the Hollandaise over them. Call the rest of the guest to get their plates RIGHT NOW before they go cold. They always take their time to respond and that gives you time for an assembly line.

This is very rich and loaded with fat.

A nice side would be a pile of freshly cut fruit; pineapple, kiwi, peaches if in season, mango, and berries. Have a huge bowl of that and just pile it on the plates. Top with sprigs of something green; mint, basil, microgreens, whatever.

Skip over people being silly to 3:50.


Tank said...

No. Three minutes and the egg is too done. I use a small pan, boil the water, drop an egg in for 90 seconds, it gathers itself, remove with a slotted spoon, slide onto an English muffin. Perfect every time. They are slippery suckers, so you have to watch to make sure they don’t slide off the plane or muffin. I don’t like hollandaise sauce, so I wouldn’t make that; might use some Tobasco or Frank’s.

Tank said...

Also, you want to get the timing right with the egg and muffin ready and hot together. Otherwise it’s a fail IMHO.

Tank said...

LOL, plane s/b plate. But that is funnier.

chickelit said...

I judge restaurants based on their Hollandaise sauce. Many places in my price range used packaged powder mix or some such which always tastes chemically.

I have been making Hollandaise sauce for 25 years or so and have even made it outdoors camping (I use a smallish Revereware double boiler) and a metal whipper. It’s not crucial that the butter be room temp, just that it is added in small chunks. What’s crucial is what you’ve noted: starting to add the butter just when the yolks begin to jell. If you flub this, you get oil and water instead of the desired emulsion. Also, fresh squeezed lemon juice. Never tried cayenne pepper; I always use white pepper.

MamaM said...

In the end, an egg gets et.

With as much mess to clean up as one wants to make. I'm all in for easy and over easy these days.